Andrew Yang, Bringer of Pestilence

Andrew Donaldson

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Twitter is the place to go when you want to say ” That is the dumbest f’ing thing i’ve ever heard” everyday.Report

  2. Avatar veronica d says:

    I was an unpopular kid. I was weird. I got bullied. But dammit I was smart. I was so fucking smart. Everyone told me I was. I built my identity around that fact. My fragments of self esteem began and ended according to how smart I was.

    I was a fucking idiot. Eventually I figured this out.

    Nowadays I tell people I’m “math smart.” I am, very much so. But there is so much I don’t know.

    For example, I don’t know much about medicine, or epidemics, or any of that. I’ve read a few books. I know a fair bit about the history of the HIV epidemic. (In that story, the CDC were heroes. How the times change.) In other words, I have a decent Wikipedia level knowledge of the subject.

    There is more that I don’t know than what I do know. I understand math and software very well. If an epidemiologist needed help modeling something in software, I’d be a great fit. But I’d be useless without their guidance.

    If I thought I could offer knowledge without their guidance, and if people listened to me, then I’d be worse than useless. I’d make things actually worse.

    Smartypants people have a weird pathology. Often, along with their smarts, they have a chip on their shoulder. I often wonder if this is because of childhood trauma? How many were weirdos like I was? How many were bullied? Do they carry that resentment, like I did?

    Anyway, I value smart people. I’m also very suspicious of people who seems driven to “seem smart,” to lead with their smartness. Life is more complicated than that.

    Anyway, Yang is clearly quite smart. However, he is also a fucking idiot.

    Thus he attracts a certain type.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to veronica d says:

      Veronica, I thought we were all in this together?Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to veronica d says:

      Yeah, I know what you mean. The way is that it tends to promote being “smart” as an all-purpose characteristic. But out in the world expertise matters a lot more than raw intelligence and expertise is inherently domain-specific and “smart people who don’t know what they’re doing can do a lot of damage.Report

      • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to James K says:

        Another, related, way that school works, at least in my experience, is that intelligence is often equated with virtue, or being good. Not only was I (mostly) an A student, but I was therefore considered a “better” person than those who struggled a bit.

        In some ways, that can be at least a little true. Doing good at schoolwork requires discipline, or at least it did for me because I wasn’t a prodigy. And I suppose the willingness to buckle down and work indicates something like virtue.

        But in other ways, either it’s irrelevant or encourages something quite the opposite of virtue. It’s irrelevant inasmuch as the “smart” person is “smart” because of some natural aptitude or inclination to do well at schoolwork.* I worked hard in school, but I also enjoyed a lot of advantages (resources, household stability, a strong intelligence, no learning disabilities, good health, an inclination to wait for the marshmallow) that others simply didn’t, or had in lesser amounts.

        The focus on intelligence also encourages something quite the opposite of “virtue,” bordering on a “might makes right” mentality. I happened to do well at school. I even enjoyed it. That’s a strength–a form of “might”–that can be wielded against others. True, bullying and philistinism real, but the intelligent can bully and the educated can engage in their own philistinism (snobbery). And the notion that the smart, or intelligent, are somehow more deserving than others bears a direct relationship to the notion that the strong should rule because they are strong.

        I’m not, by the way, knocking intelligence or smarts or education. Those are things to be valued and perhaps it’s inevitable that by valuing them, we also value the bad things I mention. But I suggest we should at least be aware of what we’re doing and try to account for it.

        *I know there’s a school of thought that says aptitudes are mostly cultivated and not natural. My only comment is that on a day to day and short-term level, it seems something either “natural” or beyond one person’s immediate control.Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Acting Secretary of the Navy to Yang:
    “Hold my beer”

    The Administration has made it clear that letting sailors die needlessly is preferable to embarrassing the Dear Leader.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      No, the administration is saying that before firing off an e-mail that’s going to end up in the press, perhaps walk three doors down the hall and ask the group commander if you should do something that boneheaded.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

        Hmm. Did Modly get clearance from up the chain before making the boneheaded speech he’s apologizing for now that it’s ended up in the press?Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

          From the NYT:
          “Mr. Modly, Admiral Mullen said, “has become a vehicle for the president. He basically has completely undermined, throughout the T.R. situation, the uniformed leadership of the Navy and the military leadership in general.

          When his 15-minute speech was over, signing off with a tepid “Go Navy,” Mr. Modly had effectively drawn an invisible line between him and the more than 4,800 crew members of the Roosevelt, one crew member said. This sailor added that many of the crew thought Mr. Modly had called them stupid for putting so much faith in their commanding officer. After Mr. Modly’s speech, junior sailors approached the crew member, he said, looking to leave the service after their first enlistment.”

          Republicans love the military like Michael Vick loves dogs: As cannon fodder for their own vainglory.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

          Now Modly has resigned. This whole Acting Secretary thing is working out great!Report

  4. Avatar Aaron David says:

    “I must not use Twitter. Twitter is the mind-killer. Twitter is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face Twitter. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where Twitter has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says: